Democrats wondering how to win elections could do worse than to check out the campaign of Earl Ray Tomblin, who yesterday was elected governor of West Virginia. His campaign Web site says "More Jobs, Lower Taxes," and his record and proposals for tax cuts were an important part of his campaign. He was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, and reacted by saying, "My support for gun owners and gun owners' rights has never wavered, and I will continue to fight for Second Amendment issues as governor of our great state." On energy, he supported coal ("There are some who want to turn their backs on coal - not me") and natural gas fracking: "The continued expansion of natural gas exploration in West Virginia can fuel a whole new energy economy, and I will go anywhere and do anything to create these jobs right here at home." As acting governor, he reportedly pursued a lawsuit against the Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency to fight its regulations on coal.
Not every state is West Virginia, and a pro-coal, pro-Second Amendment approach might not get a Democrat very far in some other places. But there are plenty of places in the country that are like West Virginia. And certainly the links between job creation and both tax reduction and domestic energy production are issues that have the potential to resonate far beyond the Mountain State.